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‘I love what I do’: Hospital Interpreters bridging the gap

Bridging the Gap
Posted at 7:16 PM, Oct 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-14 19:16:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Translating quality care quite literally. It is the job of interpreters in hospitals across the state, but interpreting is more than just language.

Amidst the hustle inside this free medical clinic on Indianapolis’ Northwest side, interpreters are hard at work.

“I can tell you that I am a senior interpreter. I’m the old guy there,” Ascension St. Vincent medical interpreter Marlon Cabrera said.

The doctor by trade moved to the U.S. from his home country of Nicaragua some 20 years ago. He has been with Ascension St. Vincent as an interpreterfor 16 years.

“The tendency was for the Latino community to grow more, so the hospital wanted to be very supportive,” Cabrera said.

Noridalia Scheker is also on the team of about 30 interpreters for Ascension hospitals across the state.

“It’s not like I just interpret like I told you. It’s like I give a part of my heart to help them — especially our culture,” Scheker said.

Scheker is too a trained doctor and moved from the Dominican Republic three years ago. She joined the hospital two years ago.

“I feel like I’m giving something more than just communicating. I can be that support,” Scheker said.

These two are “bridging the gap” when it comes to connecting Spanish-speaking patients to quality healthcare.

“They see it as serving patients more than just having to do it as a job because it is vital everyone has good health outcomes,” Ascension St. Vincent’s Manager of Interpreting and Language Services, Lisa Harden said.

Scheker and Cabrera both trained through the “Bridging the Gap” program.

“We have a lot of countries who speak Spanish, but we have different cultures,” Scheker said.

Interpreters are tasked with relaying complex conversations in an easily digestible manner. The team works 27/4 in all settings — from the E.R. to outpatient. Both say this job is their passion — and they’re not going anywhere, anytime soon.

“It’s not my job, it’s my hobby because I love what I do,” Scheker said.

Ascension brought the Bridging the Gap program about 20 years ago to the state. There are interpreters trained in several languages, but more than half of the team is trained in Spanish.